We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

Full disclosure, I actually read this book about a year ago and wrote about it then. My blog wasn’t up and running but now that it is, I want to share it as it was a beautiful book that stayed with me all this time.

I read a lot of contemporary literature but I like to think of many of them as books about people and books about life.  This book was no different.  It’s a story about Eileen Leary (nee Tumulty) from a young age and follows her through her life.  It details her challenges growing up with her parents, her marriage to Ed, the birth of their son and their lives as Connor grows into an adult.  Eileen strives for more and works hard for it but as she gets it, it’s not always how she expected it to be and then something devastating happens in their family.  I don’t want to give away too much of the story but it is a beautiful and moving and heartbreaking one that stuck with me.  The characters were so rich and there were moments throughout the book that were both wonderful and devastating and said so much about life.  There was a great deal of truth to this story and while so much stuck out, I wrote down this quote as I read it because it rang so true about parents and the love they have for their children no matter what:

“You are not in this life to count up victories and defeats.  You are in it to love and be loved.  You are loved with your head down.  You will be loved whether you finish or not” (Thomas, 594)

It was about family and the expectations we have about life and the good and the bad parts of it.  It was intense and beautiful and deep and even though I sat on my couch and wept through parts of it, I’m so glad I read it.  It’s very worth it.

K

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